Vol. 13 (2023): A Global Ireland: New Audiences and New Alliances

Truth in Fiction is Truth Infection: A Study of Emma Donoghue’s Room

Ahlam Ahmed Mohamed Othman
The British University in Egypt/Al-Azhar University

Published 2023-07-31


  • Irish Canadian Fiction,
  • Emma Donoghue,
  • Narratology,
  • Possible Worlds Theory,
  • Room

How to Cite

Othman, A. A. M. (2023). Truth in Fiction is Truth Infection: A Study of Emma Donoghue’s Room . Studi Irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies, 13. https://doi.org/10.36253/SIJIS-2239-3978-14626


Inspired by the 2008 Austrian case of Fritzl, who locked his daughter in a basement for twenty-four years, raped her repeatedly and fathered her seven children, three of whom he imprisoned with her, Emma Donoghue’s Room (2010) is not a mere retelling of the actual story of kidnap and escape. Donoghue’s fictional universe is comprised of several possible fictional worlds: a metafictional world that implicitly directs the model reader’s attention to the process of fictive composition, a “superfictional” world that takes the shape of moments of enlightenment, a “subfictional” world that houses the author’s beliefs and memories that are not in focal awareness, and a “nonfictional” world that houses the author’s repressed thoughts that are hidden. The present study aims at unraveling these possible fictional worlds in a novel the naïve reader receives as a five-year-old boy’s account of his confinement and subsequent escape to the outside world.


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